Regardless of you who had picked for the 2018 World Cup finals, Inter Milan fans have to be relishing in the fact that Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic will represent Croatia in the finals against France this weekend.
Croatia have a population of 4.2m, a GDP similar to Tanzania and Lebanon, a top football league with an average attendance of less than 3,000, and they’ve just reached the World Cup Final. That’s the story of this World Cup.— Neil Forsyth (@mrneilforsyth) July 11, 2018
“It was a very difficult game. We all know what was at stake and how important a semi-final is for a small country like Croatia,” said Perisic, according to The Economic Times. “We started slowly, but we showed our character just as in the previous two knockout games when we were a goal down. We didn’t used to be that resilient.”
This will mark the continuation of a record for Inter as they have been represented in each of the World Cup finals since 1982. The only other team in Europe who can make the same claim is Bayern Munich, but Corentin Tolisso may not be available to play for France in the final.
It was Perisic who helped get Croatia to the finals with a stunning equalizer against England in the 69th minute of their semifinal match Wednesday.
CROATIA EQUALIZE!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 11, 2018
Ivan Perišić beats Kyle Walker to the ball to pull Croatia level with 20 minutes left in the game. pic.twitter.com/O0xaQRULT7
The cross came from none other than Inter right back target Simi Vrsaljko. It was Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic — assisted by Perisic — who put away the winner in extra time to put Croatia in the finals.
Here is a look at Inter Milan’s history in the World Cup finals:
- 1982 — Gabriele Oriali and Guiseppe Bergomi were part of Italy’s winning squad.
- 1986 — Current Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge played for West Germany.
- 1990 — Andreas Brehme, Jurgen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthaus were part of Germany’s championship team.
- 1994 — Nicola Berti played for Italy, who lost to Brazil in the finals.
- 1998 — Ronaldo was part of Brazil’s squad that lost to Youri Djorkaeff’s France squad.
- 2002 — Ronaldo returned for Brazil and this time he came away with the championship.
- 2006 — Marco Materazzi played for Italy’s championship team. Of note: Fabio Grosso signed with the Nerazzurri, but never played for them. He scored the winning penalty for Italy in the finals.
- 2010 — Wesley Sneijder was part of the Netherlands’ team that lost out in the finals.
- 2014 — Rodrigo Palacio played for Argentina as they lost in the finals to Germany.
- 2018 — Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic will play for Croatia as they face France in the finals.
Croatia has never reached the finals of the World Cup. The closest they came was the semifinals in 1998 when they lost to eventual champions, France.
“I was back in my hometown. I rooted for Croatia wearing the Croatian jersey,” Perisic said. “I could only dream to play for my country and to score of the most important goals.”
Croatia and France are set to play for the title on Sunday in Moscow.
What do you think? Post your comments below!